MIRA grant funds Sanford to extend his studies of the mechanisms of RNA processing and RNA-binding proteins, which are involved in inherited diseases and cancer

Jan 9, 2019 | Tim Stephens

Jeremy Sanford, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz, has received a $1.85 million grant from the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program of the National Institute for General Medical Science (NIGMS). The five-year grant provides flexible, long-term funding for Sanford’s research program, which focuses on understanding the role of RNA-binding proteins in regulating gene expression.

The human genome contains tens of thousands of protein-coding genes. When a gene is turned on, many RNA copies are made of the gene’s DNA sequence. The genetic code carried by these “messenger RNAs” is then translated into a protein that will perform some cellular function. Before that happens, however, the RNA copies are subject to an elaborate regulatory system in which the messages may be processed in different ways, leading to dramatic changes in gene expression. RNA-binding proteins orchestrate virtually all of these regulatory decisions.

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